Reply to Church of God Perspective on Tithing
Kelly: Can you picture a lawyer in the USA arguing a case using even the good points of English law? Why is that obviously wrong, yet it is OK to argue using Old Covenant law? Well, God does not and cannot bless a New Covenant Christian because of obedience to annulled Old Covenant commandments per Heb 7:5, 12, 18?
According to Galatians 4:4, 5 Jesus was born under the jurisdiction of the law to redeem those (Hebrews) who were under the law. Of course he never once denounced tithing. Such would have been a sin on that side of Calvary.
The first rule of understanding the Bible is the context of the text being quoted. Matthew 23:23 is a discussion of "matters of the law" and is addressed to the first century interpreters of the law who turned tithing into a burden by adding household garden herbs.
From Leviticus to Luke (16 texts) the true biblical tithe only meant food from inside Israel. God defined it that way!
Pagan tithing was in place in all Abraham's known world alongside idolatry, child sacrifices and temple prostitution. Being very old and very common does not make something an eternal moral principle.
Read Numbers 31 which is a discussion of the statute of the law concerning tithes from spoils of war. It is only one per cent. Abraham and Jacob's tithes from pagan Haran of Syria were not considered to be holy tithes in the law. Nothing Abraham did concerning tithes is followed by any church today.
Mt 23:23 shows that Jesus still agreed with tithing to support the Aaronic priesthood before Calvary as "matters of the law." His death at Calvary necessitated a "change of the law of tithing" per Heb 7: and that change of 7:5 was its "annulment" in Heb 7:18.
Kelly: 1 Cor 9:12-19 shows that Paul refused to exercise his right to be paid (even partially) and preferred to work for free.
Per: It behooves us to learn as much about tithing as possible.
Kelly: Yes, indeed. Study it very thoroughly. See www.tithing-russkelly.com
Per: Yet, if you read the Scriptures with certain assumptions, it seems very confusing.
Kelly: Most assume that everybody in the OT was required to begin his/her level of giving at ten per cent. That is a false assumption because only food producers who lived inside Israel qualified as tithe-payers. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify.
Per: Dt 12:5-7, 11-12; Lev 27:30-32;
Nu 18:20-24; Nu 18:25-28. The first tithe supported the work of the tabernacle and, later, the work of the temple. This tithe belonged to God.
Kelly: None of the three tithes supported the work of the Temple. That was done by freewill offerings. The first tithe was only food.
Per: Dt 12:17-18; Dt 16:2-3, 5-7, 10-11, 13-16. You are to “consume” it before God. After all, how many of us are farmers these days? God has provisions for changing our work into money to use before Him as well.
Kelly: The second tithes was only food from inside Israel and must be eaten only in Jerusalem. Who does that today?
Per: Dt 14:22-27. It is important to note that we are to rejoice in God’s blessings.
Kelly: Yes, but "we" the church are under the New Covenant and never have been under the Old Covenant, therefore these texts are irrelevant. Rom 2:14-16.
Per: Dt 14:28-19; Dt 26:12-14
Kelly: The third tithe was also only food from inside Israel. It was to be kept in the homes and towns of Israel and nowhere else.
Please stop teaching Old Covenant tithing to New Covenant believers. That which God wanted His Church to obey he repeated and restated to it after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. And tithes were not repeated. Neither do we have Levites and superior priests who must forfeit inheritance rights.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD